Kyparissia is a town, which belongs administratively to the Municipality of Trifylia and is located in the northwest of the Prefecture of Messinia, while until 2010, it was the seat of the Municipality of the same name. Kyparissia is today the seat of the Municipality of Trifylia, which belongs to the Regional Unit of Messinia, which was established in 2011 with the Kallikratis Program. The Municipality of Trifylia has a population of 27,373 inhabitants and an area of 101 sq. km. In the last census conducted in 2011, the Municipal Unit of Kyparissia had 7,728 inhabitants, while Kyparissia had 5,131 inhabitants and was the fourth most populous city of the Regional Unit of Messinia, after the capital Kalamata (54,100), Messina (6,065) and Filiatra (5,969). Kyparissia is the agricultural and commercial center of the province of Trifyllia.
It is built in an amphitheater position, as it stretches from the foot of Mount Egaleo, also known as "Cold", to the waters of the Ionian Sea, ie at an altitude of 0-116 meters. It is the capital and seat of the Municipality of Trifylia. It is 255 km southwest of Athens, 63 km south of Pyrgos Ilias, 100 km southwest of Tripoli, 67 km northwest of Kalamata and 74 km north of Methoni.
According to others, Kyparissia owes its name to the many cypress trees that surrounded it like forests at the dawn of its history, and according to others to Kyparissos. He was the son of Minya.
The legend always wants Kyparissos, a good hunter and friend of the god of music and light, Apollo. Once on his hunt, he killed a deer. And since then, he has been melancholy. Before he died, the gods took pity on him and listened to his prayers. They made him a cypress. And there were many cypress trees at that time in Kyparissia, in the city that was worshiped by the god - friend of Kyparissos, Apollo.
In Kyparissia, the goddess of wisdom, Athena, was worshiped at that time except for Apollo. In fact, Athena, worshiped in Kyparissia, also had the name "Kyparissos" or "Kyparissia" Athena, whose church was located on the site of the current church of the Holy Trinity (it is said that the Holy Table of the Holy Temple rests on the remains of a pillar of ancient). And the temple of Apollo, must have been where the old church of the horseman Ai-Giorgis is today, near the entrance of the railway station. The god Dionysus was also worshiped.
Even the great traveler and geographer of antiquity Pausanias passed through Kyparissieda and made references, among others, to the Dionysiada spring (today's Ai Lagoudi), on the beach of the city.
Its history is very long and goes hand in hand with that of the Peloponnese. Its beginning is lost in the depths of prehistory. During the Homeric years, Kyparissia was called "Kyparissientas" and belonged to the kingdom of Pylos, of King Nestor. Later the area was enslaved in Ancient Sparta along with the rest of Ancient Messinia. Many were interested in the strategic position of the city over the centuries: A castle was built on the site of the ancient Acropolis during the Byzantine years, then the Turkish and Frankish conquerors rebuilt the fortress making the necessary additions giving it its current form. During the Turkish occupation, Arcadia, as Kyparissia was called in the Middle Ages, had a privileged position as a commercial center of the region. Its current name is due to Otto. Tombs of the Classical and Roman eras were discovered in Kyparissia, while at the top of Mount Psychro, the Frankish Castle is preserved today.
"Kyparissientas" belonged to the kingdom of Pylos, of King Nestor. In fact, Kyparissientas participated in the Trojan War by sending 11 ships, under the command of Nestor, according to Homer.
Later the area of Kyparissienta was enslaved to the Spartans along with the rest of Messinia. Kyparissientas was a culturally, economically and commercially prosperous city. In fact, in 199 BC. he also minted his own coin.
Excavations in Kyparissia
Since the beginning of the operation of LIP EPKA, which came from the disintegration of ZD EPKA (to which until then the Prefecture of Messinia belonged), an important rescue excavation has been carried out in the area of Kyparissia, in three main points: the "Mousga" location, the location of the Castle (ancient Acropolis) and the location of the beach of ancient Kyparissienta.
In the "Mousga" area, the rescue excavation brought to light the ruins of a large villa of the late Roman era. The building infrastructure includes bath and plumbing installations which belong to three consecutive construction phases, starting from the 1st century BC. and last until the beginning of the 5th century. The archeological site includes the villa and a residential complex that belonged to the building site of ancient Kyparissienta, which was developed around the ancient market, with the port as a focal point. The finds include parts of vases and decorated lamps, copper coins, etc.
Western foothills of Kyparissia Castle
In 2007, a rescue excavation was carried out in the western foothills of the Castle of Kyparissia, where the foundations of a building were discovered, probably a house, the oldest phase of which dates back to the late Hellenistic and early Roman times (1st century BC-1st century BC), while that it continued to be in use until the late Roman era (3rd-4th century).
The archeological site on the beach of Kyparissia
In 2010, during works for the foundation of a hotel unit in the coastal area north of the port of Kyparissia, a rescue excavation was carried out on the beach, which revealed an extensive residential complex, part of the ancient coastal settlement, whose inhabitation began in the late Hellenistic period (2nd century). BC) and continued until the late Roman era (4th century). The finds include hooks and needles for sewing nets, indicating that the main occupation of the inhabitants of the settlement was fishing, as well as a variety of pottery, coins and other objects of daily life of the inhabitants of ancient Kyparissienta.
During the Byzantine era, the Castle of Arcadia, also known as the Castle of the Giants or the Castle of Arcadia, was built on the site of the ancient Acropolis of Kyparissienta. In fact, one of the towers of this castle became known as "Justinian's tower". During this period, however, Kyparissia, as well as Patras and other cities and smaller settlements in the western Peloponnese, show a decrease in population. According to the historian Anna Avrameas in her study "The early Christian and early Byzantine Peloponnese", comparing the settlements mentioned in the "Tabula Peutingeriana", of the 4th century, with those included in the list of the "Synecdema" of Hierocles, of the 6th century, it is found " that the central and western part of the Peloponnese is gradually becoming weaker, ie most of the small settlements are disappearing from these parts, while on the contrary the eastern part is being strengthened. This inclination to the east, which is detected so early, is justified by the turning of the place towards the new political directions of the Empire, which are dictated by the founding of Constantinople ". According to "Synecdemos", Kyparissia, in the 6th century, was included among the 79 (in: o) cities of the Byzantine Province of Greece, which was an administrative continuation of the former Roman Province of Achaia and which was ruled by a viceroy, based Corinth.
Middle Ages – Venetian rule
In the Middle Ages, between 1262-1432, Kyparissia, then referred
to as Arcadia or Arcadia, was the seat of the Barony of Arcadia.
This barony was a vassal state in the Principality of Achaia founded
in 1261/2 by Prince William II Villarduino. Originally, the city of
Arcadia was part of the prince's personal possessions and was formed
as compensation for Vilain d'Aulnay after the Byzantine conquest of
Constantinople by the Latin Empire in 1261. The residence of the
baron was repaired ancient Castle of Arcadia. The history of this
period is very rich. Baronia of Arcadia was the last remnant of the
Principality of Achaia that fell, in 1432, to the Byzantine Despots
of Morea. After the conquest of Patras and Chalandritsa in
1429-1430, which also meant the de facto overthrow of the
Principality, the last Prince, Kentyrion II Zacharias, kept only
Arcadia as his personal fief. After his death in 1432, however,
Despot Thomas Paleologos, although Zacharias' son-in-law, captured
the barony and imprisoned his widow Zacharias and his mother-in-law,
who died in prison.
During the Turkish occupation, Arcadia had a privileged position as a commercial center of the region and its castle was guarded by a guard of 300 Algerians.
Second Venetian rule
During the second period of the Venetians, the first official census was made in the Peloponnese, which states that in 1689 Kyparissia (Arcadia or Arkadia) had 745 inhabitants. The settlement also refers to various censuses of the Venetian Providers of the Most Peaceful Republic of Venice, which were made during the period of thirty years (1683 / 84-1715), during which the Venetians occupied the Peloponnese. Arcadia (Arcadia quattro Borghi), belonged, in 1689, to the province of Arcadia (or Arkadia, ie the area of today's Kyparissia), which was one of the 4 provinces, which then divided the district of Methoni (province of Fanari, province of Arcadia, province of Navarino and province of Methoni).